FOR the past ten years, Dal and Sabby Chamdal have been serving their community, and their efforts during the recent coronavirus lockdown have earned them our title of Trader of the Week.

Husband and wife Dal and Sabby took over Olympic Street Convenience Store in November 2010. Sabby is from Darlington, her family have managed a number of retail businesses in the town over the past 30 years, but nothing was to prepare them for challenges of the last few months.

Sabby said: “At the start of lockdown it was very tough, and quite scary. The shop was even busier than ever because large supermarkets had run out of certain goods. We were worrying about catching it, but we had so many customers to think about. It’s a real community here. We have been supported for ten years, so we had to make sure we were there for our customers. We were also shielding Dal, because he is diabetic, so our daughters had to help.

The Northern Echo:

“We felt we just had to get on and help. We trawled all the “Cash and Carries” to find all the stock people wanted and we did what we had to to stay safe ourselves, and keep our customers safe.”

The family also organised deliveries for their vulnerable customers and always went the extra mile to get what they needed. Sabby said: “We had to do something. We are part of this community and that is what kept us going – knowing we could help.”

The business has had to adapt. The door is left open, there is a screen at the counter, restrictions on the number of people in the shop at one time and, from yesterday, people now have to wear a mask in shops.

Sabby said she is glad the family returned to Darlington, especially in the light of the recent pandemic – they lived in Birmingham from 1994 to 2010, but their shift work meant they saw very little of each other, or of their daughters.

Sabby’s brother spotted the Darlington business opportunity and the couple relocated. “Retail is in my genes, but I had always been a bit reluctant to follow in the family footsteps – I saw how hard my parents worked, without days off or holidays and I wasn’t sure that’s what we wanted to do.

“But our jobs in Birmingham meant we didn’t see each other, or the girls. My brother thought this shop would be ideal, and, as it turned out it was just what we wanted. It was small enough for the two of us to manage, and there was accommodation. The shop is in a great area and it was a good place for us to bring the family.”

The Northern Echo understands many firms are currently operating under challenging circumstances, but we hope to use Trader of the Week to support local businesses. To see your business featured on our pages and on our website, or to nominate a business, please email